American exceptionalism

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Americans have always liked to believe that their country is special - or, as the phrase goes, exceptional. And as a consequence of believing that their country is exceptional, many Americans have also believed that it has a uniquely uplifting and moral role to play in international affairs.

But in Donald Trump, America has had a president who explicitly rejected the idea of his country's exceptionality for the first time, calling into question America's role in the world and the strength of its democracy at home. In order to find out more about the significance of Trump's rejection of this idea, I interviewed Dr. Hilde Restad from Bjørknes College in Norway. Hilde is a leading expert on American exceptionalism, and we had a great conversation not just about Trump but also the broader history of the concept, how other recent presidents (particularly Obama) had related to it, and whether we can expect a return to business as usual now that Biden is in office.

Hilde's article on Trump and American exceptionalism: https://tnsr.org/2019/12/whither-the-city-upon-a-hill-donald-trump-america-first-and-american-exceptionalism/

Hilde's book: https://www.routledge.com/American-Exceptionalism-An-Idea-that-Made-a-Nation-and-Remade-the-World/Restad/p/book/9781138096769

Credits

Host - Andy Gawthorpe

Designer/advisor - Janice Killion

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If you have any questions or comments, you can email the show on producer@america-explained.com.

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